The law demands that heroes unmask, so why are the Fantastic Four so bothered when they already are unmasked?
Graphic novel review – The Fantastic Four Civil War 2010 Marvel.
A US law calling for all masked superheroes to declare their true identities to the authorities has divided the heroes of America into a dreadful schism, with many refusing to unmask and others happy to do so. The heroes fight among themselves as well as taking on established villains who are thriving in the conflict.
The Fantastic Four had never hidden their identities and yet they too are divided over the law so many find unjust. With Captain America a fugitive in his own beloved country, and Nick Fury hot in pursuit, The FF have to decide who’s side they are on. A skirmish in the intensifying conflict has left the Human Torch in a coma (that he later recovers from all too easily and casually, getting back into business almost as soon as his eyes open.
The in-fighting confuses and upsets Ben Grimm, known as The Thing, so he quits the team and flees to Paris, where in the story’s best plot thread, he helps a team of French Superheroes still doing things the good old fashioned vigilante way. It’s funny and touching, with more than a passing nod of respect to the wartime French Resistance. These characters deserve more recognition.
The real tensions of the story arise in the conflict between FF’s married couple, Reed Richards and Invisible Woman Sue Storm-Richards, as she finds herself assisting the law-breaking heroes refusing to unmask, while her elastic bendy husband serves the State, threatening their marriage and the future of the team altogether.
The Civil War saga is an epic bold story arc pitching the plight of heroes against the background of the Bush Junior Patriot Act laws that seem to turn America back to the age of McCarthy. The FF episode is one of the story’s finest presentations.